Jimmy Kimmel's Toronto Tour: the city Americans think they've never seen

After his Rob Ford interview, Jimmy Kimmel visits Toronto, the city Americans think they've never seen.

Jimmy Kimmel in Toronto
His heart will go on: Jimmy Kimmel in Toronto (see YouTube video below)

Toronto: The city you don't know you know

In the wake of Rob Ford's visit to "Jimmy Kimmel Live", Kimmel is keeping the gong-show momentum going. This time, he's focusing on Toronto. Americans know that Canada is up here (Mounties, bears, beavers, snow), but they aren't overly familiar with our cities. At least, they don't think they are.

Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo took a trip up to Toronto, the great urban area that was gerrymandered to give Ford the job he somehow still has. Kimmel, who's visited T-Dot in the past, described it as "one of the great cities": a rather vague compliment.

Cue Kimmell and studio security guard/sidekick Guillermo driving through Toronto in a beige hooptie, from downtown to the Beaches.

Pointing out a statue of Winston Churchill at Nathan Phillips Square, Guillermo explains, "That is Winston Churchill... He is a Canadian from 1974 to... 1935." The CN Tower? That would be "the tower of Ontario".

Jimmy Kimmel eventually acknowledges, though, that Canadian bacon "is better than our bacon."

Of course, no visit to Toronto is complete (or so the spurious truism goes) without a visit to Celine Dion's star in front of the Royal Albert Theatre, along Toronto's Walk of Fame. In other news, Toronto has a walk of fame.

Guillermo: Jimmy Kimmel in Toronto

Americans really do know Toronto, though, and they knew it before Rob Ford's antics gave us an international black eye. (The right one; the left eye was more recently blackened by that soul-destroying Justin Bieber deposition video.)

Occasionally Toronto gets to play itself, like in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" or David Cronenberg's "Crash". On the small screen, Hogtown shines in "Rookie Blue", "Orphan Black" and "Lost Girl".

Lost Girl: Bo and Lauren

Stunt double for the rest of the world

Mostly, though, Toronto is dressed up to look like somewhere else. Here are but a very few instances in which Toronto stood in for other, better-known cities.

  • "Detroit Rock City" (Detroit)
  • "Fantastic 4" (New York)
  • "Murder at 1600" (Washington, D.C.)
  • "Kick-Ass" and "Kick-Ass 2" (New York)
  • "Cinderella Man" (New York)
  • "American Psycho" (New York)
  • "Good Will Hunting" (Boston)
  • "X-Men" (various New York State locations)
  • "Pacific Rim" (Tokyo)
  • "Mean Girls" (Evanston, Illinois)
  • The "Total Recall" remake (dystopian-future Britain and Australia)
  • "Chicago" (Chicago)

As this image from Sue Holland's Flickr set shows, they didn't do so hot a job turning Toronto into Tokyo for "Pacific Rim". Things like the bus doors being on the wrong side, American-style vending machines, too-wide streets, and so on.


The taxi's wing mirrors are spot-on, though.

The production team can get away with it, though, so long as the audience doesn't recognize the location stand-in for what/where it really is.

Even other Canadians don't necessarily know Toronto that well, as the breezy documentary "Let's All Hate Toronto" shows.

Canadian cities gotta stick together

Vancouver and Toronto don't always see eye to eye. We differ on what constitutes a "ski hill" or "summer weather". We have different concepts of what "late night" means. Let's leave all that aside for a sec.

Vancouver feels for you, Toronto. Our city is also always the stand-in, rarely the star. Hopefully this will cheer you up.

It's the video for "Never Surrender", by Canada's own Corey Hart. It was filmed in Toronto.

More in News

Views from a refugee camp: Who gets into heaven?

I have just returned to Vancouver Island from Greek refugee camps where I met a Yazidi man named Jason who told me about his escape from ISIS in Iraq.   His story begins on a desert road where a...

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.